Writing a Literature Review

Author: Steward, Barbara

Source: The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Volume 67, Number 11, November 2004 , pp. 495-500(6)

Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists

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The processes of searching for literature and appraising evidence critically are well documented. Yet effective ways to report literature reviews, either as pieces of research in their own right or as part of primary research reports, are less easily found. Reviews are often criticised for their lack of coherent construction, of synthesis of key themes and of well argued analysis. More importantly though, reviews are often the Cinderella of research, being less valued than primary research, or dull preludes to research reports.

This article considers the structure and content of a good literature review and calls for a new injection of enthusiasm to reflect the fascination of finding ideas, engaging with others' research and building new theories from the assembled evidence. Publishing a review demands art as well as skill to help readers to make sense of a particular world of evidence and make them want to go and find out more for themselves. The article suggests ways to write better reviews and encourages the writing of more papers based on reviews.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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